HQ - Live Trivia Game Show is a unique little trivia game that has gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. It's a free game that feels like a honest to goodness game show, complete with a live host and real cash prizes. Sure, it looks a little hokey, and it doesn't always work all the time, but it's a unique experience that exhilarates every time you play.
Live in the moment
When I say that HQ Trivia has a live host, I really mean it. Rounds of the show currently take place twice a day (3pm and 9pm Eastern Time). During that time, you are greeted by show host Scott Rogowsky who reads off questions in real time and comments on players' performance and a live chat feed. This, combined with the brightly-colored production values surrounding the whole thing, make HQ Trivia feel like a game ripped from a Black Mirror episode, which is kind of cool, but also a bit strange.
In every game of HQ Trivia, Scott reads off 12 multiple choice questions, each of which has to be answered within 10 seconds from when he starts reading them. It's a timeframe that feels pretty tight, but it's also one that makes it hard for cheaters to Google answers before making their choice. Once time is up, the answer is revealed, and players that answered correctly move on, while the others can hang out in chat and watch the rest of the show if they so choose.
To the winner go the spoils
It's neat enough that HQ Trivia is a live game, but what makes it even more exciting is the fact that the winners of each match win actual money. Most of the time the cash pot is $250, and everyone who gets all 12 questions right splits the money evenly between them.
By both being live and having real cash, HQ Trivia really feels like a true game show right on your phone. You don't have to do anything to buy in, and if you play well, you can get a nice wad of cash deposited directly into your PayPal account.
On paper, the idea for HQ Trivia is so simple and obvious that it feels weird that there hasn't been something like it before. In practice though, the logistics of hosting a live event twice a day, every day can be difficult, and problems can arise that prevent games from starting when they're supposed to.
Considering you already have to play HQ Trivia at specific times of day, the idea that you can log in on time only to find you actually have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to play can be frustrating. This is the trade-off for a game that is basically a live broadcast, but for me, the excitement that comes from HQ Triviabeing live far outweighs its occasional technical problems.
The bottom line
If HQ Trivia wasn't live, it would be a completely unremarkable game. There's nothing particularly special about its questions, format, or host (sorry, Scott). The game stands out specifically through making every matchan event. "Getting in" on a round of HQ Trivia makes you feel like you're part of something special, while missing one can give you some pretty bad fomo. It's an odd way of making a game compelling, but it absolutely works.